MILITARY TIMES – Academy makes ‘God’ optional in cadets’ oath

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The Air Force Academy on Friday announced that it will now be optional for cadets to recite “so help me God” at the end of its honor oath.

The academy made the change in response to a complaint from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which advocates for the separation of church and state in the military.

“Here at the academy, we work to build a culture of dignity and respect, and that respect includes the ability of our cadets, airmen and civilian airmen to freely practice and exercise their religious preference — or not,” academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson said. “So, in the spirit of respect, cadets may or may not choose to finish the honor oath with ‘so help me God.’ ”

But MRFF President Mikey Weinstein said the academy’s decision isn’t enough.

“The Air Force Academy took the cowardly route,” Weinstein said after the announcement. “From our perspective, it still creates a tremendous amount of unconstitutional turmoil … for anyone who is a religious objector.”

Weinstein pledged earlier in the week to bring a lawsuit against the academy if the religious language is not dropped entirely from the oath.

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2 Comments

  1. Don Heve

    Years ago the despicable phase “so help me god” was the reason I came in contact with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). When I heard the phrase was at least made optional, I was happy. The next step should be the complete elimination of the phrase, followed by all religious activities eliminated. Too often while I was on active duty, there would be prayers, mention of god and so forth, and as a non-believer, I was offended. Thanks again MRFF, keep up the good work, for there are many that believe in your cause, but are fearful of speaking out.

  2. Mike Challman

    As a faithful Catholic Christian, I appreciate and value the right to include “so help me God” when I pledge a solemn oath. At the same time, I support the right of others NOT to include the statement. And even more importantly, I support every individual’s right to a climate that does not favor, support, suggest, imply, or pressure adherence to any religious belief.

    And contrary to the objections of some of my co-religious people, the opposition to things like “so help me God” is not anti-Christian… it’s pro-Freedom, pro-Constitution and pro-Respect for Others.

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